Tito Ortiz reveals why he backed out of boxing match with UFC president Dana White: “I’m not fighting anybody for free”

By Josh Evanoff - October 3, 2022

Former light-heavyweight champion Tito Ortiz has given his side of his failed boxing match with Dana White.

‘The Huntington Beach Bad Boy’ was one of the biggest stars in the early days of the UFC. His rivalries with names such as Ken Shamrock and Chuck Liddell helped shoot the company into the mainstream and save the promotion, which was hemorrhaging funds.

Despite being one of the stars of the early days of the promotion, that doesn’t mean that he was on good terms with the UFC. Ortiz threatened to leave the promotion many times during the height of his popularity. The reason is his beef with Dana White.

The relationship between the two sides got so bad, that the two nearly had a boxing match. In 2007, Ortiz and White were going to have an exhibition boxing match, and the promoter took it seriously. He reportedly had a full training camp and even weighed in for the bout.

However, Tito Ortiz didn’t show up to the weigh-ins, and the fight never happened. On an appearance on the Chattin Pony podcast, the former champion revealed why he no-showed the weigh-in. The reason was that he pulled out of the fight a month previously, over payment issues.

Despite that, the weigh-in, and the fight were scheduled to proceed, and White openly questioned why Ortiz didn’t show up.

Tito Ortiz

Image Credit: Amanda Wescott, Triller

“That actually was supposed to happen. It was in a contract and everything,” Ortiz said. “It was supposed to be 50/50 on any money that was revenued from the fight, and when it came about to the contract to sign — and I’ve always signed a bout agreement for a fight I was doing — that wasn’t in it.” (h/t MMA Mania)

“I wasn’t making nothing out of it. It was a lose-lose situation for me. And I said the fight’s not happening a month before the fight when they aired it on Spike TV, a three-hour session of Dana flying around… getting ready for the fight and everything. It was never supposed to happen,” Ortiz continued. “It was an opportunity for Dana to be a superstar, and he got that position, and he ran with it. He did it well.”

He concluded, “The contract came and said I was making zero. I said, ‘Hold on a second, I thought you said 50/50?’ He was like, ‘No, we can’t do that.’ I was like, ‘Well I’m not fighting then… but just don’t go on the scale and say Tito no-showed and is scared to fight,’ and that’s exactly what he did. I’m not fighting anybody for free.”

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